Where can you see camels, cows, bison, and bobcats, all without leaving your car? At Wild Florida Drive-Thru Safari Park, in Kissimmee, which boasts an engaging and entertaining wild animal drive through safari. From emus to alligators, you will be able to see many different animals as you drive through this Florida safari park.
How it works
The premise of the drive-thru safari is simple. You enter the park and drive around the park on an unpaved road. Do not leave your car, as you will find yourself right next to the animals. As we drove through, we saw several animals come right up to our window to say hello (and we saw one emu that went from car to car pecking into the windows). As you drive along the curved 2+ mile road, you’ll find lemurs, alligators, and other animals alongside the road, and even in front of your car. On our visit, several cows caused a traffic jam.
Tip: As you enter the park, you are given a checklist, so ensure that you have a pen ready. Your kids can use it to check off the animals that they see as you drive through the park.
On the checklist that kids are given at the entrance, there is a fun fact about each animal that the kids can read to you and to each other. Most of the trail that you drive surrounds the park so many (but not all) of the animals will be on the driver’s side. However, if you feel like your kids didn’t get to see everything equally (or you just really liked it) as you exit, there is a turnaround that lets you re-enter the safari, and same-day re-entry is included in the ticket price. You may want to have the kids switch sides first, though and you can make a quick stop in the parking lot to do that.
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Be prepared to go slowly
Depending on how many cars are driving through at the same time, be prepared to stop frequently. The speed limit inside the park is 5 miles per hour but when we went, we were usually going even slower than that. Several families had their sun-roofs open and let taller kids stand through them to see everything. You need to stay alert while driving as the animals will cross the road as well.
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Other things to do at Wild Florida
Wild Florida also has a walk-through exhibit where you can learn more about alligators, zebras, watusi, and other animals, as well as talk to the staff about how they keep the animals safe and healthy. There is a playground here so kids can play and run around in a safe environment. For kids who can’t keep their hands to themselves, there is a petting zoo where they can pet and feed baby animals.
And if you don’t feel like staying on land, Wild Florida Airboats (part of the greater Wild Florida complex) also offers exciting airboat rides. Normally, these rides are scheduled for either a half-hour or hour, but you can book private tours as well. As the boat flies along Cypress Lake, the tour guide will help you find alligators, eagles, and other animals that live along the marsh. This all-ages ride is sure to excite every member of your family, from the littlest kids to the biggest. That’s if the little ones don’t fall asleep from the vibrations in the boat.
Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, both the walk-through exhibit and airboats are closed until further notice, but this gives you a good reason to return. One fun activity that is still open is the giraffe feeding. As you finish your drive, you can park your car and pick up some leaves at the giraffe feeding stand. Hold them out and the giraffe will come and pluck the leaves from you using its prehensile tongue. It’s a lot of fun, but depending on the timing, you could be closer to people than you want to be. It is something you should do with caution.
Tip: While the temptation is there to keep the windows down the entire time to see everything better, you should be warned that especially on a hot day, the outside smell can become overwhelming.
Overall, Wild Florida Drive-Thru Safari Park is a great way to get out of the house and explore and see some exciting animals without having to come in contact with too many other people. Kids will be very excited to see cows, water buffalo, and bison on and around the road and both alligators and crocodiles in ponds.
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